Investigative Reports

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Breaking — Hargeisa Local Government Property Records System Breached By an Insider to Generate Illegal Property Deeds

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According to sources familiar with the incident, the Land Records Management system built and managed by GEOSOL for Hargeisa Local Government was breached by an insider who generated land deeds bypassing all required approvals, including the signature of Mayor Abdikarim Ahmed Moge. Sources add that law enforcement has taken the alleged perpetrator and a private property developer into custody.

The previous Hargeisa Mayor and current local council member Mr. Abdirahman Aideed SOLTELCO awarded the lucrative, no-bid contract to GEOSOL to manage the local government’s entire land and property records system. Mr. SOLTELCO is confirmed to be a stakeholder of GEOSOL through intermediaries.

Besides the land and property records management system, GEOSOL is building the Hargeisa Local Government a new headquarters that is slated to be completed within months, as confirmed by Mayor Abdikarim Ahmed Moge at the groundbreaking ceremony. It is unclear if the building for Hargeisa Local Government is part of its agreement with GEOSOL.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology paid 400 million Somaliland Shillings or roughly 74,000 US dollars to GEOSOL. Details of the agreement with GEOSOL are scarce and it is unclear what the contract entails and if Hargeisa Municipality is a stakeholder, the project’s price tag, and if GEOSOL will charge the public for the address assignment service or if this engagement will be rolled out nationwide in the future. GEOSOL is one of many generous sponsors of the Ministry’s ICT annual conference.

Sources add that the alleged perpetrator is a former GEOSOL employee who was recently transitioned to the local government as head of Planning of Koodbuur district of Hargeisa. It is unclear if he had access to administrator-level credentials or if he exploited the system through knowledge from his prior GEOSOL engagement to easily bypass all checks and balances and issue land deeds for properties that have outstanding issues. One of the cleared properties extends past the public easement into the roadway and has its deed restricted as a result.

Sources from Hargeisa Municipality, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, have confirmed that this is not the first time that deeds and other ownership documents were issued from the system to multiple people on the same property. Somaliland Chronicle cannot independently verify this allegation.

Law enforcement sources have confirmed that GEOSOL and Hargeisa Municipality are working on an agreement with the alleged perpetrator to drop charges in exchange for termination of employment and confidentiality of the breach of the system.

According to the agreement the local government signed with GEOSOL, the Liability and Indemnification clause, the company is not liable for any damages arising from the use of its system or by its employees except in the event of “gross negligence or willful misconduct”.

Mayor of Hargeisa Mr. Abdikarim Ahmed Moge did not respond to requests for comments on this breach, the nature of the Municipality’s relationship with GEOSOL and what measures will be put in place to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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